Eructation vs Flatus: Difference and Comparison

Eructation and flatus are the cases that occur after meals when the gastric cavity is filled with food.

Eructation is the sound that is generated by the mouth due to the removal of entrapped gas from the stomach or oesophagus, whereas the other hand, flatus is the sound that is generated by the distal part of the body due to the release of the entrapped gas from the stomach or intestine.

Key Takeaways

  1. Eructation, or belching, is the release of gas from the stomach through the mouth, while flatus, or flatulence, is the release of gas from the intestine through the anus.
  2. Eructation results from swallowing air or the breakdown of food in the stomach, while flatus occurs due to the fermentation of undigested food by bacteria in the large intestine.
  3. Both eructation and flatus are normal bodily functions, but excessive occurrences can indicate digestive issues or improper eating habits.

Eructation vs Flatus

Eructation, commonly known as burping, is expelling gas from the stomach through the mouth. Eructation is not considered harmful. Flatus refers to the release of gas from the intestines through the rectum. Flatus can also be a symptom of certain medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. 

Eructation vs Flatus
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Eructation is also called the action of burping or belching in general terms. Eructation occurs because of the aerophagia in the upper digestive tract.

The word ‘eructation’ is more of a technical term, and therefore, it is most commonly used for medical or scientific purposes, and is mostly replaced with the word ‘burp’ in daily life.

The term ‘flatus’ is also referred to as flatulence. It is the sudden expulsion of the gas that is entrapped in the stomach, gastrointestinal tract, or intestine from the distal part of the body.

Too much flatus or flatulence indicates a disorder or a disease of the digestive tract.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonEructationFlatus
Route of expulsionExpelled from mouthExpelled from the flatus
Gas entrapped inEsophagus, upper stomach or GITLower GIT or intestine
Other terminologiesBurp and blechFlatulence
Effect on healthCan provide insight into the mild to severe disorders or diseases present in the bodyOdour
Unpleasant to odourlessMainly occurs after the mealFoul to unpleasant
OccurrenceIt occurs anytime during the dayOccurs anytime during the day

What is Eructation?

Eructation is the term mainly used for technical, medical, or scientific purposes to demonstrate the sound that occurs due to the expulsion of the gas trapped in the oesophagus, stomach, and upper respiratory tract.

It occurs after meals when the food causes the gastric cavity to get filled from the oesophagus to the stomach, i.e. aerophagia.

The food causes some void spaces in between, and the chewing action (mainly chewing food with keeping the mouth open) causes the air to get in, and this air then gets trapped between the void spaces created by the food in the digestive tract.

When the peristalsis takes the food to the stomach, the contracting movement of the oesophagus creates pressure on the inside wall, thus forcing the air to get released from the digestive tract.

This sudden force due to the peristaltic movement results in the expulsion of the trapped air or gas.

This expulsion is known as eructation, which gets the air released outside the body with a sound to it (as when any sudden force is applied over the trapped air, it tries to escape with noise from the closed environment).

Eructation can sometimes be used to express the violent or sudden expulsion of fumes from the volcano or the geysers.

What is Flatus?

Flatus is the expulsion of the trapped gas from the distal or lower body, i.e. from the end of the digestive tract or the alimentary canal.

Flatus is also known as flatulence. Flatus can be expelled as a voluntary action, or it can be an involuntary action.

It occurs when the digestion process is complete, and the food is in the intestine for the excretory function. It results from the entrapment of the gas or air in the intestine.

This entrapped gas can be formed due to various reasons, including improper digestion, the effect of diet, health conditions, genetic conditions, sleep disturbance, etc.

Often, if the flatus is present in the body and not expelled outside, this can result in heartburn or acidity. If there is still difficulty in the expulsion of gas or flatulence, it can lead to serious health issues, including heart attacks.

Flatus with softer stools or persistent fluid is associated with gluten absorption or a celiac condition.

Several people suffer from excessive eructation or flatus, which may not always be associated with diarrhoea. The treatment for this is focused on reducing the occurrence of these symptoms.

Main Differences Between Eructation and Flatus

  1. An eructation is the sound that gets released from the mouth due to the air or gas entrapped in the stomach or the oesophagus after the meal, while, flatus is the sound due to the expulsion of gas of the intestine from the distal or the lower part of the body.
  2. Eructation is mostly an involuntary type of action occurring when the food passage to the stomach is full, however, flatus can be a voluntary type of action or an involuntary type of action.
  3. Eructation occurs after the meal intake, whereas flatus occurs after the digestion process.
  4. In eructation, the gas entrapped in the oesophagus or the stomach is released while flatus, the gas entrapped in the intestine, is expelled.
  5. Eructation is mostly due to the peristaltic movement that creates a force on the air trapped in the upper digestive tract, while flatus is due to the pressure of the excretory substance in the intestine.
  6. Eructation is mostly odorless to sometimes with an unpleasant smell. But flatus is associated with a very foul and unpleasant smell.
References
  1. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/117/6/e1249.short
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00365529709002985

Last Updated : 30 June, 2023

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